Having been travelling the globe for 3 months The Saint was looking forward to seeing the new look Las Palmas side take on the mighty Real Madrid. LP have made some good signings during the January window and bought in Uruguayan defender Lemos on loan from Rubin Kazan, midfielder Montoro from Almeria and the Big Brazilian centre forward Willian.
LP have been in great form recently and winning their last 3 games in a row, pushing them out of the relegation position to 15th in the league. Last week they had an excellent away win against 4th place Villareal.
Over the winter the football stadium has now had its renovation work finished and the pitch looks superb compared to what it was like at the start of the season. There should be no excuses anymore that LP can’t play the attractive passing game for which they are so well known.
The first shot of the night falls to Ronaldo but his weak effort goes wide producing big cheers from the home fans.
On 9mins a mistake by RM defence lets Willian in, but with just Navas, the keeper, to beat, he hits the ball straight to him and the chance has gone.
After good pressure from LP, Mono has an opportune shot from outside the box which goes just wide.
A bad foul by Casemiro for RM picks up the first booking of the night.
LP gives away the ball to Modric who puts Ronaldo clear but a good save from Varas in the home goal denies the leagues top scorer a goal.
On 24mins from a corner, Madrid takes the lead after a header from Sergio Ramos flies straight into the top corner. It was a good header but poor marking by the home defence.
Good play by LP on 30mins sees a shot from Bigas go over when he should of done better. The game has become very evenly matched with LP holding their own against these world super stars.
Half Time – Las Palmas 0 Real Madrid 1
Verdict – LP will be regretting not having taken the best chance of the match so far, when Willian should of scored in the 9th minute. Despite poor marking for their goal LP are making it difficult for Madrid to play their football and have a great chance to pull themselves back into this match.
2nd half begins with LP taking control.
They win a few corners in the first 10 mins and Willian goes close with a header.
On 61mins a big talking point of the game so far. Good pressure by LP forces RM to make a mistake which lets in Willian once more, he is clean through but Pepe pulls him back, a free kick is given but no red card.
A great run follows by the former Saint Gareth Bale but his shot is high and wide. That’s the first thing he has done all game, big disappointment for the worlds most expensive player.
Good move down the left sees the youngster Nili take a good shot for the home team but it isn’t enough to get past the keeper.
More problems for the the ref to deal with, after a back pass by RM to their keeper, who picks it up, so LP are awarded a free kick inside the box.
The wall is never 10yards away and Viera gets booked for his protest to the ref. The attempted shot is finally blocked and Madrid escapes again.
A great run, by defender Bigas, down the left sets up Araujo but his header is just over.
With just 5mins remaining, LP are putting the pressure on the away team. Then on 87mins, Mono puts a great ball through to Willian who calmly chips the on rushing keeper to level the scores at 1-1. The crowd goes wild. A reminder of the last game of last season when UDLP got promoted.
The game restarts and Madrid winning a corner, when it should have been a free kick to the home side for a foul on Bigas as he was trying to clear the ball.
From the resulting corner, Madrid score again, this time it’s a Casemiro header, who was again unmarked at the far post. The home fans can’t believe it. LP try their best in the last few minutes to get another, Ramos even getting himself sent off for a second yellow but it is just not their night.
Final Score – Las Palmas 1 Real Madrid 2
The Verdict of The Saint – Las Palmas were so unlucky not to come away with a point against the Mighty Real Madrid. They matched them all through the game and were the better team in the second half. Willian should have taken his chance in the first half and the ref bottled it when he should of sent Pepe off with 30mins still remaining. This would have meant a big difference to the match and at the time LP were on top.
The home side will be very disappointed to have conceded both goals from corners but overall should be very pleased by the way they played. They are a much better team now and if they continue to play like this until the end of the season I think they can definitely stay up in La Liga.
The only sad point for me was that the stadium was not full. The club again over priced this match and some tickets were going for 300€ and the cheapest 100€. Even season ticket holders like myself, had to pay an extra 34€ for this game. A lot of fans on this island just can’t afford it. The crowd of 25,846 would have gone home happy with the performance but it’s such a shame the stadium was not full.
Next home match is on Saturday 2nd April against Gary Neville’s Valencia,
17.15 KO. Come and cheer the boys on to safety!! PIO PIO !!!!!!